BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Growing conditions are ideal for
northern corn leaf blight, and producers are urged to scout their fields.
AJ Woodyard, BASF technical crop protection specialist, said
northern corn leaf blight is an aggressive disease when it sets in and has
become a larger issue for corn growers.
“Northern corn leaf blight thrives in weather conditions
when we’re in the range of 64 to 81 degrees, when we’ve been wet and when we’ve
had some humidity,” he said.
“So, in a lot of the corn-growing region, there’s been ideal
conditions for northern corn leaf blight to develop because we’ve had wet
conditions, the right temperatures, and we’re starting already see this disease
set in and become an issue.”
Due to its aggressive nature, Woodyard recommends growers
need to be scouting for blight in their fields.
The disease appears as a large gray and tan cigar-shaped
lesion on leafs. Lesions may contain prominent, dark areas of sporulation as
they mature, and the length or size of lesions may vary with their different
reactions to resistant genes within corn hybrids.
“It’s very identifiable when you’re out in the field, and
the symptoms will very quickly spread,” Woodyard said.
He said northern corn leaf blight can rob crop yield
quickly, which is why he recommends growers proactively manage the disease and
not let it spread into the crop canopy.
“As part of that proactive strategy, we want to apply
Headline AMP fungicide to protect that crop from diseases,” Woodyard
“Headline AMP is the absolute best product with its two
outstanding active ingredients that manage northern corn leaf blight very well,
and it’s also important to keep in mind that in order to manage it we need to be
ahead of that disease.”
He recommends application timing from full tassel to the
beginning of the milk stage.
“From VT to R3 is the most important time to be out there
taking a look for northern corn leaf blight and making sure we get that
proactive application out in that field,” he said.
There are several strategies corn growers can use to prevent
effects of northern corn leaf blight, Woodyard said.
One is to rotate corn and soybean crops to reduce the chance
of disease development.
For corn on corn, Woodyard suggests a couple of other
“One would be to try to manage our residue. We want to get
as much of that residue buried below ground to not allow that fungal spore to
germinate on the surface and splash up on the plant,” he said.
“The other thing would be to manage it with hybrid
tolerance. The last thing would be proactive fungicide applications with
something like Headline AMP that will allow you to manage that disease before it
can ever set in and keep that tissue working for you to feed the grain.”